Sunday, February 23, 2014

And that was that!

I don’t have a ton of memories of my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy, but I do remember her using the expression “and that was that” many times.  And as I turn to the last page of her scrapbook, I can’t get that expression out of my head. 

Of course, the last page is filled with dance cards.  Grandma must have saved them and put them in the scrapbook together but after pages and pages of them, all I can think about is how much she must have loved to dance.  And from the look of her dance cards, many suitable young men must have loved dancing with her!

First was the Junior Guild Dance held at the Del Monte Hotel.  I wish I knew the date as there is no sign of Earle Norton on this dance card.

Junior Guild Cover
Junior Guild Inside 1 Junior Guild Inside 2
Looks like George (AKA Geo) might have been a special friend – he got two dances!

Grandma must have been busy with all of the dancing at the Alumni Dance on 
January 1, 1915!

Alumni Dance 1915

I love what she wrote at the bottom - “my card speaks for itself in this instance”.  Why yes it does, Grandma!  And just who do we see as her partner for dance 3, 7, and 8?  None other than Norton, who I assume is Earle Norton.  I love on dance #8 where someone else’s name was crossed out and Norton was written in.  Did he have to fight “Tom” for her?  Now I can tell that #8 Norton is different handwriting than #3 & #7 and just could be Grandma’s handwriting.  What’s the story behind that?  And our friend Mr. Lacy is back as her partner for dance #12 and #15, although I can tell that the writing for dance #15 was Grandma’s.  Her feet must have been tired that night!

And then came the dance given by the Brotherhood of American Yeomen.  Another full night of dancing!

Old Capitol

No sign of Earle Norton :-(

And on May 14, 1915, just weeks before she graduated from high school, Loraine attended a dance given by the Monterey Ladies Civic Club.

Civic Club

Civic Club Inside

Oh look at that – Earle Norton is back and danced the Three Step with her!  I will say, though, that much of this handwriting is Grandma’s, including Earle Norton’s name.  Does that mean she just hoped to dance with him?  Or did she not dance at all and just filled in names?  Or, was she so busy dancing that she forgot to have her card signed?

And last but not least was the dance given by the Monterey High School Alumni in 1916 at the Masonic Temple.

Alumni Dance 1916

No dance card, no evidence of how much she danced or hoped to dance.  Just an invitation.  Did she attend?  I laugh that a ‘couple’ was 50 cents and an ‘extra lady’ was 25 cents.  Did that mean a man could bring two ladies with him and pay 75 cents?

So I’ve come to the end of the scrapbook.  Thank you, Grandma, for sharing your young adult life with me 100 years later.  I would have loved to have had the opportunity to sit with you and have you describe it all to me.  I swear I would have listened, taken good notes, and even recorded your voice.  I know there is so much left to know about the story but I feel so fortunate to have had this glimpse into your life.  I’ve gotten to know you in a way that most granddaughters never know their grandmothers – I’m so glad you were a packrat and shared this information with me.  It truly is a gift and will be loved by your descendants for generations to come.

And that was that!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

And now more dancing

I’ve learned a lot about my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, from looking through her scrapbook but the one thing that stands out for me is that my grandmother loved to dance!  And it’s also clear that she loved to save mementos and for that, I am thankful.  But what’s interesting is that even though Grandma Loraine was 58 years old when I was born and lived to be 86, I don’t remember ever seeing her dance or even talk about dancing in those 28 years.  But boy did she talk about it as a young girl!

Here’s the next pages of the scrapbook.

Boys Atletic Club

Boys Club Description

I believe Bagby’s was an Opera House in Monterey.

Look at that – she came home with Walter Warren.  Not just came home with him but an exclamation point at the end.  Who was Walter Warren and how did she know him?  I do know that she danced the Paul Jones and Tag Two-step with him.  Hmmm, wonder what kind of dances those are?

Here is a description of the Paul Jones dance from Wikipedia.  Paul Jones is the name used for a number of mixer dances that were popular in the first quarter of the 20th century but continue to be used in traditional dance settings to the present day. One common variation is as follows. At the signal of the caller (who may also be called by other names, such as "prompter", "cuer", or “Master of Ceremonies”), all dancers join their hands to form a circle (or several concentric ones, if crowded), with ladies being to the right of their partners. At the second signal of the caller, the dancers repeatedly do the Grand Right and Left move, well known in square dancing. As a result, the ladies move to the left (clockwise) along the circle, while gentlemen move to the right. At the third signal, dancers dance with the partner whose hand they are holding at the moment. This "third signal" is traditionally the shouted words "Paul Jones", but a whistle or other device can be substituted. This procedure may be repeated "as the master deems it advisable".  Charles J. Coll, Gabrielle Rosiere, Dancing Made Easy (1919). 

Sounds like you don’t really dance with your partner, you just start the dance with your partner.

And then there was another dance in North Monterey.

Pacific Fish Company

Pacific Fish Description

WAIT JUST A MINUTE! Earle Norton brought me home!  This must be the famous Earle my grandmother talked about here.  So now we know his last name is Norton!  And if you look very carefully on the Pacific Fish Company card (looks like a train ticket rather than a dance card) you can see on the second line written very faintly in pencil the name Earle Norton.  But why did she have just a “fair time”?  I think my grandmother was smitten with this mysterious Mr. Norton!

Of course, I had to try to figure out this mystery so my first stop was to where I found a Charles Earle Norton born in 1890 or 1891 in California.  And in 1910 and 1920, this Charles Earle Norton lived in Monterey.  So this could be him!  And then I found a newspaper article mentioning him and someone had circled his picture, along with the picture of his future sister-in-law, with the following caption.

Enid Williams in third row, third from the left. (Charles) Earle Norton was the future brother-in-law of his classmate Enid. He married her younger sister Margerite.

Charles Earle Norton

I zoomed in hoping I could see the face of the man my grandmother may have been dreaming of having a future with.

Charles Earle Norton close-up

Sadly, it doesn’t show me much but I do have a hint into his life since I know he married Margerite Williams.  After following some hints in, I found in the California Death Index that Charles Earle Norton, husband of Margerite Williams Norton, died April 5, 1953 in Monterey and had a daughter by the name of Marian N. Norton.  I also found a few people working on a tree which includes Charles Earle and Margerite and have sent them messages hoping to connect with them, but so far, no luck. 

Would my grandmother have been ‘involved’ with a man 5-6 years older than she was?  That might not be too far fetched since my grandfather was 8 years older than she was.  How did she know Earle?  They went to the same high school but graduated 5 years apart so probably weren’t even students at the same time.  Did he have feelings for her?  Oh Grandma, I love all of the tidbits you’ve left me but couldn’t you have left me just a few more?

And here’s more dance cards!

Hotel Del Monte

Hotel Del Monte Description

A ball given to Knights of Columbus at Del Monte
May 13, 1914.
a pretty good time. 

The dance card was at least partially filled out but since it was in pencil, there’s not much to be seen 100 years later.

Bagby Hall

Bagby Hall Description

Just went to look on for a short while.  Saw Earle for a few minutes but did not dance.
Friday night
July 17, 1914

So here she is back at Bagby’s.  I find it very telling that she found it important enough to write that she “saw Earle for a few minutes” but did not dance.  Now while it appears that she didn’t dance at all since the card hasn’t been filled out, was she commenting about that or the fact that she didn’t dance with Earle.  The poor men had to pay 50 cents yet the ladies were free!


Here’s another one but Grandma didn’t leave me any clues on this.  A few of these names look familiar – I especially like that she danced with FRIEND – I wonder if that was his name or if he really was just a friend.

This one makes me laugh – the Fish Feed Benefit Dance. 

Fish Feed

The names of the dances are quite creative - have you ever heard of a Jelly Fish Wiggle or a Mackerel Slip?